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Heroin and Prescription Opioid Abuse Prevention, Education,

and Enforcement Act of 2015

Introduced on 4-29-15 by Kelly Ayotte [R-NH] and referred to the Judiciary Committee. Cosponsored by Joe Donnelly [D-IN]. A related bill is H.R.2805.

Purpose: To address prescription opioid abuse and heroin use.

SEC. 2. Findings.

Congress makes the following findings:

(1) The Controlled Substances Act (21 U.S.C. 801 et seq.) declares that many controlled substances have a useful and legitimate medical purpose and are necessary to maintain the health and general welfare of the people of the United States. Pain is a major national health problem. The responsible treatment of pain is a high priority and the needs of individuals with pain must be taken into careful consideration when taking steps to prevent prescription drug misuse and abuse.

Prescription opioids are susceptible to diversion or misused by individuals not taking them as directed. 4 out of 5 new heroin users claim they became addicted to prescription opioids first. More people are using heroin, and are using it at a younger age, from 142,000 in 2010 with average age of 25.5 years, to 178,000 in 2011 with the average age of 22 years. Heroin use nationwide rose 79 percent between 2007 and 2012. Deaths from heroin overdose have tripled between 2010 and 2013.

The Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant Program under part E of title I of the Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act of 1968 (42 U.S.C. 3750 et seq.) is critical to fighting the prescription opioid abuse and heroin use epidemics, and should be reauthorized and fully funded.

SEC. 3. Development of best prescribing practices.

(a) Set up a Pain Management Best Practices Inter-Agency Task Force comprised of representatives of DHHS, CDC, VA, DoD, DEA, Office of National Drug Control Policy, NIH, physicians, dentists, non-physician prescribers, pharmacists, research experts, pain management professional organizations, mental health treatment community, pain advocacy groups, and other stakeholders.

The task force shall develop best practices for pain management and prescription pain medication prescribing practices, taking into consideration existing research, recommendations from relevant conferences, State and local authorities, and medical organizations. It shall solicit public comment on the best practices developed, and develop a strategy for disseminating the information about best practices to prescribers, pharmacists, medical boards, etc.

The task force shall not have rulemaking authority. The task force shall submit to Congress a report that includes the strategy for disseminating best practices, a feasibility study on linking best practices with receiving and renewing registrations under the CSA, and recommendations on how to apply such best practices to improve prescribing practices at medical facilities, including the VA.

SEC. 4. The Harold Rogers prescription drug monitoring program.

(a) Authorization of appropriations of $9,000,000 for each of fiscal years 2016 through 2020 to carry out the Harold Rogers Prescription Drug Monitoring Program established under the Departments of Commerce, Justice, and State, the Judiciary, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2002 (Public Law 107–77; 115 Stat. 748). Report to Congress of effectiveness in reducing prescription drug abuse, and any corresponding increase or decrease in the use of heroin.

 SEC. 5. Reauthorization of Byrne justice assistance grant program.

Extends section 508 of title I of the Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act of 1968 (42 U.S.C. 3758) from 2016 through 2020.

SEC. 6. Awareness campaigns.

The Secretary of DHHS shall advance the education and awareness of the public, providers, and patients regarding the risk of abuse of prescription opioids

The Office of National Drug Control Policy shall establish a national drug awareness campaign which will take into account the association between prescription opioid abuse and heroin use,  emphasize similarities and the effects of heroin and prescription opioids on the human body; and bring greater public awareness to the dangerous effects of fentanyl when mixed with heroin.

SEC. 7. Naloxone demonstration grants:

Authorizes 3-year grants for 8 demonstration programs for properly trained first responders to administer an opioid overdose reversal drug to an individual experiencing overdose. The grant shall make an opioid overdose reversal drug available to first responders, train and provide resources for first responders, establish processes, protocols, and mechanisms for referral to treatment and shall provide individualized technical support. 

Appropriation for this bill was not included. The costs should be offset by a corresponding reduction in Federal non-defense discretionary spending.



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